Hugh Jackman Used to Anger Himself With Cold Showers to Play Wolverine

Hugh Jackman is well known for his star-making role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise. Seeing as Wolverine was written as a very angry character, Jackman once explained how he’d rile himself up to get into the role.

How Hugh Jackman would physically prepare for Wolverine

Hugh Jackman smiling while wearing a suit.
Hugh Jackman | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

As is usually the case for playing superheroes, Jackman had to engage in an intense training regimen to sculpt his Wolverine body. For the Les Miserables star, this included eating more and committing to his workout schedule.

“I do heavy weights in the morning for about an hour, and then I do 45 minutes of higher-volume lifting in the afternoon,” he once said in an interview with the LA Times. “My least favorite is the legs. … I do quite a few chin-ups and rows. I do mostly old-school lifting with a lot of squats. I actually do more front squats than I do back squats, and I do a lot of deadlifting. If I could only do one exercise, it would be deadlifting. For cardio, I dance, I ride my bike, I run and I have kids. There is a … lot of cardio just from being a parent.”

Even on his off days, Jackman would try to maintain some of his superhero physique. That way it made building back up to Wolverine shape easier.

“It’s too hard to get in shape from scratch, and it’s easier to stay in shape than to get in shape. … For Wolverine I really up the training,” Jackman said. “Right now I do about an hour of training a day and ride my bike everywhere. But I do about 2 1/2 hours of training a day when getting ready for the role, and foodwise I eat more, but I eat a lot stricter. Seventy percent of your physique is your diet, and diet is the biggest change that happens.”

Hugh Jackman used to take freezing cold showers to get himself ready for Wolverine

Jackman also found a way to mentally prepare himself for his Wolverine. The Real Steel actor would tap into his character’s rage by accident with cold showers. He stumbled onto the method in an early morning in Toronto.

“My wife was asleep, it’s, like, five o’clock in the morning and there’s no hot water, so my hair was full of the hairspray from the day before and I had to take a shower,” Jackman once said according to Contact Music. “(It was) freezing cold water and I was so pissed. A cold shower in the middle of a Toronto winter and I had to be under there for two minutes.”

But Jackman would later use the experience to feed his X-Men character.

“I was half way through it and I went, ‘This is it!’ This feeling was so through my body that I wanted to scream but you couldn’t, so that was kind of the character. So, every morning and every time I play that role now, it’s become superstitious almost. I always take a cold shower first thing in the morning – just to get pissed off,” he said.

Hugh Jackman once explained why reprising his role as Wolverine wasn’t on the table

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After Jackman’s retirement from the character, many have wondered if The Prestige actor could ever return to the role. But in a fairly recent interview with Jake Hamilton, Jackman shared that his days as Wolverine might have been over.

“That fact that I’m hearing about this from you, and there’s nothing in my inbox from Kevin Feige means it’s probably, no matter what idea I came up with, not on the table,” he said. “Let’s just be clear. I realized, before we shot Logan, I was like, we got the idea. We knew what it was going to be-ish, right? And I thought this is it.”